Death in the North Channel

The Loss of the "Princess Victoria", January 1953
Offers an account of the sinking of the 'Princess Victoria' in January, 1953 and loss of 136 lives. The book covers her construction through to the final search for survivors after the vessel was no more. This book poses the question: was this a tragedy that could have been avoided?

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Foreword - The sinking of the Princess Victoria off the coast of Northern Ireland in 1953 was the worst shipping disaster in the history of the province. One hundred and thirty-five people perished during that dreadful day of 31 January. Not a single child, nor a single woman survived. Sir Walter Smiles, the then Member of Parliament for the North Down constituency in Northern Ireland, was amongst the men who lost their lives when the Princess Victoria sank. His tragic death caused shock waves far beyond the constituency itself, where the outpouring of grief and sympathy became transformed into massive support for his daughter at the ballot-box during the ensuing by-election. So it was that Patricia Forde was returned unopposed in 1953 as MP for North Down and thus became the first woman ever to be returned to Westminster from any constituency in Northern Ireland. Sadly, however, Patricia stood down at the next general election in 1955, after only two years.Although we never met I nevertheless feel a strange affinity with Patricia, not just because I was born in 1955 but, much more importantly, because in the general election of 2001 I was returned as the MP for her former constituency.North Down then became the first and, to date, the only constituency from amongst Northern Ireland's 18 to have been represented twice in the House of Commons by a woman. My connection, therefore, with the Princess Victoria is a vicarious one, but one about which I feel most strongly. It is a privilege to have been invited by Stephen Cameron to write the foreword for this excellent piece of research about the Princess Victoria. This book will, I firmly believe, stand both as a fine memorial to the 135 who died and as a reminder of the terrible experience endured by the survivors. Stephen's style is sensitive, not mawkish, thus ensuring that survivors and the many friends and relatives of those who died could read this book and find between its pages a real testimony to the courage of all those who set sail from Stranraer on that fateful morning.His detailed account of the events leading up to, during and after that day brings a fresh understanding of the reasons for the disaster and its consequences. It also brings an intimacy which enables readers to share in the poignant recounting of this terrible tragedy. Its poignancy makes the book unforgettable. - Lady Sylvia Hermon



  • Format: Paperback / Softback
  • Published On: 30 September 2002
  • Publisher: Colourpoint Books
  • ISBN / EAN: 9781904242017
  • Page Count: 160
  • Dimensions: 10.25 in x 8.25 in x 0.45 in

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